Dr. Lara Durgavich Profile picture
Mar 27, 2018 16 tweets 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
NEXT UP: 10th seed common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) vs. 2nd seed green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) #2018MMM
The clever octopus reached Round 2 by suffocating and enveloping cookie cutter shark. #sneakattack #2018MMM
(Speaking of clever, check out this @MerriamWebster video if you want to impress all your friends by knowing the *multiple* correct plurals of 'octopus'!) #2018MMM #etymology
Anaconda, meanwhile, easily advanced by sending the microscopic tardigrade tumbling in Round 1. #2018MMM
Did you know the age of an individual Octopus vulgaris, which typically has a lifespan of 12-24 months, can be calculated by counting the concentric rings on its beak, just like the rings of a tree? It's true! #2018MMM
Anacondas are much longer-lived: an average of 10 years in the wild, but up to 30 years in captivity. #2018MMM
Today's encounter takes place in the Amazon, currently experiencing the rainy season, a time of flooding. At peak flooding, the Amazon river dumps more than 200,000 cubic meters/second into the Atlantic! #2018MMM
This massive inflow of freshwater dilutes the ocean's salinity, and not just near the river's mouth. A 1971 survey by Landis revealed altered surface salinity near Barbados, over 1800km away. #2018MMM journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.117…
Fortunately for octopus, the Amazon floodwaters do not decrease the salinity of its Atlantic habitat below the recommended range of 33-36 ppt (Pham & Isidro 2009). #2018MMM
BUT today's battle takes place UPRIVER, near the confluence of the Amazon and Tapajos rivers. #2018MMM
And really, "battle" might be a bit of an overstatement. Octopus, in freshwater surroundings with salinity below 0.5 ppt, is not pumped to tangle with the locals. #2018MMM
Lacking the sodium pump that freshwater dwellers have evolved to cope with osmotic balancing, octopus's tissues degrade as it rapidly loses salt to the environment. #2018MMM #UhOh (art by @W00D_MAN)
Octopus's cells burst as fresh water floods them. #2018MMM
Anaconda hardly notices as it swims through octopus's dissolving, gelatinous remains. #2018MMM

[Anaconda swimming through water]

Wait, what's that?!?

[zoom in]

Tardigrade, still gripping anaconda's scales, trails its claws through octopus slime! #2018MMM #AltAdvance

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More from @tinkeringprim8

Mar 29, 2018
This battle was a collaborative effort, with valuable input from @TCastanea and @AnneWHilborn. #2018MMM
Both animals arrive in Round 2 unscathed: Hyena after shredding the tiny Belo Horizonte marmoset, and Coyote having scared off an opossum. #2018MMM
Read 22 tweets
Mar 15, 2018
Categorized as 'Least Concern' by @IUCNRedList, the S. American coati ranges broadly in forested habitats throughout....you guessed it: S. America. On the slopes of the Andes it can live at altitudes of up to 2500m (~8000ft), but is more commonly found in lowlands. #2018MMM
The coati's great adaptations include the long, flexible nose & strong claws it uses to forage on the forest floor, & the ringed tail it uses for balance when arboreal. The tail = about half its overall length of ~100cm (39.5in, or roughly 3 stoats). #stoatsasmeasurement #2018MMM
The coati's competitor tonight, the aye-aye, is......unusual looking. Due to its squirrel-like tail and continuously growing incisors, it was initially classified by naturalists as a rodent. #2018MMM
Read 14 tweets
Jul 7, 2017
And now I present: a thread based on my love of #science, #scicomm, and #animals, and the fact that I'm a huge #nerd:
The other day at the library, I got this book by Ann Tompert for my 2yo (2/?): amazon.com/Just-Little-Bi…
The premise: an elephant and a mouse want to ride a see-saw. #Physics has other ideas, so some other animals come to help. (3/?)
Read 46 tweets

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